Monday, December 13, 2010

Righteous Indignation, Irreligiosophy, and For Good Reason

It was a heavy episode 76 of Righteous Indignation.  Trystan, Hayley, and the Irishman made up the Indignates this week.  The first topic of discussion was whether Hayley Stevens is sexist for blogging on the SheThought site and for participating in the Ladies Who Do Skepticism.  This whole magilla started when a listener to the show posted a spoof poster for "Gentlemen Who Do Skepticism," an attempt to point out that "Ladies Who Do Skepticism" is a genderist organization.  There was a whole flurry of comments and counter comments and counter counter comments with more comments on the comments et cetera, et cetera.

The Irishman and Trystan shared their thoughts on the topic, but clearly this was Hayley's moment not only as a female but since she was a target of the commentary thread.  Hayley as always was rather blunt, but ultimately I found her response disappointing on some level.  I cannot state exactly what I wished her to say, and I don't think it was anything in particular.  (Perhaps she was just tired of the entire discussion.)  I just wished she stated her thoughts more concisely.  My take away is that perhaps "Ladies Who Do Skepticism" on some level is "sexist," but if someone else did want to start a "Skeptic Dudes" then, so be it she does not care.  A sort of live and let live sentiment, which I appreciate.  It is worth the listen and the discussion, and perhaps my expectations were a nick to high.

The other topic of discussion was whether Christians and their Christmas are being run off the ranch so to speak with a whole counter attack led by the Church of England with wrist bands and t-shirts of people proclaiming their faith in Jesus.  The idea is that current culture of England is diluting Christmas with Winter Lights instead of Christmas lights and greeting cards that say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  (Now this does bother me.  Hayley said "Merry Christmas" quite a few times, and I was always lead to believe by my multiple versions of a Christmas Carol and my Beatles Fan Club Christmas records that the English said "Happy Christmas."  It is just wrong.)  Anyway, clearly Christmas is not going anywhere.  However, it is clearly splitting in my opinion (at least in the States) into two holidays.  There is the Christian Jesus' birthday bash with Nativity Scenes, and Midnight Masses, Advent, Advent calendars with the Chocolate along with kids dressed up in bathrobes as shepherds and kings of orient.  Then there is the secular Christmas with Kris Kringle, lots of presents, Christmas trees, drinking cocoa, and keeping one's mother and wife from putting fake reindeer antlers on the dog.  It is far more inclusive and a lot of fun and it keeps the economy churning.  To me, and it seems to the Indignates, the more Jesus-centric folks just feel threatened and want to tamp out the secular fun.  Well, to heck with them.  I love watching my five or six versions of a Christmas Carol and Black Friday Madness and putting an electric lighted penguin and snowman in our front windows.

Both discussions were good, but it was a bit more downbeat than usual.  There was an interview by the ghost of Michael Marshall and Hayley of cryptologist Klaus Schmeh.  Herr Schmeh was on the program to discuss his hobby of studying the Voynich Manuscript.  The manuscript has puzzled scholars for years in that it is a handwritten book apparently authored in the 15th century in an impenetrable language of a unique alphabet with strange pictures of naked ladies and made-up plants.  Schmeh discussed the various theories of the origin of the text from aliens to a big late medieval prank.  It was quite an engaging episode, and anyone who speaks in a genuine German accent gains loads of credibility especially when discussion code and cyphers.

Irreligiosophy Episode 87 was a departure from the typical unblinking dead serious failings of religion supported by the best in crude saloon humor as Chuck and Leighton appeared as guests on "Evidence 4 Faith."  This grammatically incorrectly named program is a radioshow and podcast based out of New Jersey and is a christian apologist show with Keith and Dr. Michael Lurakis, who argue the proof for the correctness in the Christian Faith.  Chuck and Leighton engaged upon a nearly hour-long gentile joke free debate on the evidence for god.  What the show revealed for the uninitiated is this actually would be an excellent first episode to hear for it lays a solid ground work for the arguments and view points of Chuck and Leighton with the protective blanket of blue humor.  Anyone who listens to a large number of Irreligiosophy whether or not they enjoy Chuck and Leighton's style would likely have to conclude that they know their arguments and evidence against the likely of existence of god down cold.  However, this episode is a short cut to this realization.  The arguments of Keith and Dr. Lurakis are sadly rehashing of apologist talking points discussed numerous times on Irreligiosophy, Point of Inquiry, and Reasonable Doubts.  At one point, one of the E4F hosts listed a laundry list of pro-god existence points including irreducible complexity and the necessary design of DNA.

What I found most interesting was the one host of the show shared that at one time he was an avid believer in UFOs until he read a book that demolished all of his previous beliefs and revealed them for the weak basis of their arguments.  It just seems to me he is repeating this error except instead of flying saucers, the belief is in god.

I enjoyed this episode a great deal.  It is a safe and calm entrance to the world of Irreligiosophy and then listen to further episodes to hear the latest in locker room jokes.

For Good Reason has returned after a bit of a break with an interview with David Gorski, MD, Oncological surgeon specializing in breast cancer and specializing and putting a smack down on Complimentary and Alternative Medical practices in his Respectful Insolence blog and his contributions to the Science Based Medicine blog.  It was a fairly straight forward interview by Grothe discussing with Dr. Gorski what constitutes CAM, what is the best method to refer to non-science based, and how much harm non-science based modalities can cause.  The discussion also wondered into the realm of the political pull of the herbal medicine and supplement industry and where are the limits of science based medicine in making medical choices for individual patients.  All this and D.J. Grothe utters the words "super gay."  


  1. I have stated my thoughts more concisely elsewhere, many times.

  2. I like to take baths in nice smelling bath oils!


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